All healthcare organizations and the businesses that they associate with are legally required to operate in compliance with the regulations that are set forth by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – HIPPA. Failure to do so could result in severe civil or criminal penalties, or both.
HIPPA was enacted in 1996, and since then, several amendments to this Act have been made to ensure that patient information remains properly protected as technology continues to change. That being said, it can be difficult to ensure that your company is compliant with this ever-changing Act. To keep your patients – and yourself – protected, here are tips that will ensure that your company remains compliant.
Employ a Security Staff
HIPPA is a very detailed a federal statute, which means that having a security staff that is solely dedicated to compliance protocol is important. Employ a security staff to execute policies and training that is related to any and all information regarding your patients’ information.
Perform regular audits to check if there is any risk of a breach regarding HIPP and your policies. Also, should any potential breach be found, make sure that you execute corrective measures to ensure that an impending breach does not actually occur. Test out your procedures and your policies and make sure that any businesses that you work with adhere to the same protocol. Be sure to document the results of your audits, as well as any changes that should be made.
Secure Your Email
Email is certainly a quick way to communicate with your patients and your business associates; however, it is not 100% secure. While HIPPA does not bar the use of email as a means of sharing patient information, it is important to make sure that your email server is as secure as possible to ensure that a breach doesn’t occur, and that you will not be found non-compliant. If you’re not sure if you’re at risk you might want to look into purchasing risk assessment software to help determine your needs.
Institute Proper Training
Make certain that any and all employees and businesses that you work with are properly trained on the security protocols that are related to HIPPA. Offer opportunities to expand training and knowledge by offering refresher courses and workshops that will educate your staff and vendors of existing policies and procedures, as well as any changes that may be made. HIPAA Compliance Software can also provide some interesting and fun training ideas for you and your team.
Protect Vendor Relationships
In order to be compliant with HIPPA, all individuals and businesses that you work with have to comply with every provision set forth by the statute. To ensure compliance, make sure all vendors and business associates that you work with are following proper procedures and are compliant with HIPPA regulations. Attain documentation that confirms they are compliant and that obligates them to adhere to your training and auditing processes.